Financial reports for first-quarter 2012 have started coming out, and there are some impressive unit numbers embedded in them.
Apple shipped 35 million iPhones, 12 million iPads, and 4 million Macs. This makes 47 million iOS devices shipped in the quarter, which comes to 188 million iOS devices per year, if the rate doesn’t go up over the course of the year (which it almost surely will).
Apple will soon be shipping about 200 million iOS devices per year. That is an astounding number (and the heart of Apple’s financial health). To put it in context, consider the IBM PC and all the PC-compatibles, from Compaq, Dell, and countless other companies. This is, so far, the most successful computing platform of all time, in terms of unit volume.
The IBM PC was introduced in 1981. It took 25 years, until 2006, for shipments to hit 200 million per year! That’s where iOS is today.
I haven’t seen consolidated Android shipment data for 1Q12 yet, but it is clear that as a platform, worldwide, it is growing even faster, and is larger, than iOS. It won’t be long before iOS + Android ships more than half a billion units a year.
Worldwide PC shipments were 89 million units in 1Q12, for a run rate of 356 million/year. iOS + Android will, this year, ship roughly the same number of units as the entire PC industry.
Starting from a roughly equal annual-shipment level today, mobile platforms are growing rapidly, while PC growth is leveling off. As a result, within a few years there will be vastly more mobile devices than PCs.
Facebook’s profits were down, but the size of the user base is awesome. In the first quarter of 2012, they had 526 million daily active users (901 million monthly active users). There were 488 million users on mobile devices.
To have achieved daily use by a user base larger than the entire population of the U.S. is a stunning achievement.
These facts should put an end to any lingering doubt you may have about the importance of mobile and social. These are massive trends that are both larger and much faster growing than anything the world has ever seen.